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UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Before a crowd of over 500 residents, business owners, community leaders and elected officials, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy delivered the first-ever State of Justice address.
“In January when I was sworn in, we laid out an agenda to transform the justice system of our county,” Braveboy said during the opening of her address. “Tonight, we can say that as a result of staying focused and working hard, our efforts are paying off. Over that last nine months, we have made great strides in improving our processes to ultimately administer justice in a way that is right for the people of Prince George’s County, indisputably the best county in the world.”
During her address Braveboy discussed one of her signature initiatives, youth justice reform.
“Reforming the juvenile justice system is one of my top priorities. Often we see young people coming into the criminal justice system for minor offenses,” she said. “But when you peel back the layers you find they have faced mental health issues, abuse, homelessness and other problems that have led them down this path. I believe with intervention and other solutions we can make a difference in their lives.”
Another priority she talked about is adult diversion and the need to expand the number of programs that are being offered. Braveboy also discussed the new units that she created since taking office. The Discovery Unit is a separate unit that ensures the office receives the evidence needed to successfully prosecute cases in a timely manner. The Public Integrity Unit handles police misconduct, excessive use of force and public corruption cases. “There is no excuse for officials who violate the public’s trust. My Office has a zero-tolerance policy for these types of cases,” she said.
In addition, Braveboy elaborated on the Conviction and Sentencing Integrity Unit, which will review cases that are brought to the State’s Attorney’s Office where there are questions or serious doubts about the basis for a sentence that is handed down.
Braveboy credits the hard work of the Special Prosecutions Unit in the State’s Attorney’s Office for reducing the amount of time it takes to indict motor vehicle manslaughter cases.
Prior to Braveboy’s speech, a video highlighting the issues, initiatives and programs she has made progress on was shown to the audience.
Braveboy announced several other initiatives that she is working on including the development of a strangulation policy as it relates to domestic violence. That is something that she plans to roll out in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness month. She also announced new practices around bail reform. “Starting October 1, my Office will no longer request cash bail as a condition of release,” she stated. “Instead, we will be working with other stakeholders and decision makers in the system to find alternatives to money bail.”
Braveboy concluded that “in our finest hour, our character, our values, our compassion while we seek truth and pursue justice in our focus on being a victim-centered office. When we seek justice, we do it on behalf of victims and their families. So, my Office will remain victim-focused and work together, united in that purpose.”